Knowledge Institute Podcasts
Olu Adegoke on the Mobile Centric Customer Experience
Olu Adegoke, Partner and Head of Infosys Communications Industry Consulting Practice, discusses the impact of mobile technology in developing industries.
Hosted by Jeff Kavanaugh, VP and Head of the Infosys Knowledge Institute.
“Because to me strategy is what you're actually executing. Strategy is not what you planned to do, but strategy is actually what you are doing.”
- Olu Adegoke
Olu talks about his professional career and background
Olu shares his global perspective – observations about technological impact on society across Nigeria, UK, Europe and US.
Olu explains what mobility centric means
What about the customer experience element? What does it mean to use mobile to generate a customer experience?
Are there any other elements that when business leaders considering mobile centric customer experience strategy they should keep in mind?
In his recent article in IT Pro publication Olu mentioned a phrase about winning the digital wars conjures up a lot of things like Star Wars. What are some of the implications of things like 5G on the competitive landscape beyond just being one more buzzword or piece of technology?
Olu spoke about telcos, and about whether you call them digital natives or you call them just these very successful platform companies like Amazon and Google. What about the rest of the companies? What can they take away from 5G digital wars and find their place in all this?
How do you translate the strategy of a mobile centric customer experience to results, implemented, adopted so people can see value and that those employees can see benefits as well?
What are the things that listeners can do to help advance a mobile centric customer experience at their own company and for themselves?
As people want to learn more and engage more with Olu and his practice and learn more about his thoughts and perspective, how can they find Olu online?
Jeff Kavanaugh: Welcome to this episode of the Knowledge Institute, where we talk with experts on business trends, deconstruct main ideas and share their insights. I'm Jeff Cavanaugh, and today I'm happy to be joined by Olu Adegoke, partner at Infosys Consulting and head of their communications industry consulting practice. Welcome Olu.
Olu Adegoke: Thank you Jeff. Happy to be here.
Jeff Kavanaugh: We're going to talk today about the mobile centric customer experience. Well, that sounds big and exciting. We'd also like to reach back a little bit, Olu, and find a little more about you and your backstory. First of all, where are you from? And more or less, how did you get to the position that you're in today?
Olu Adegoke: I was actually born in Nigeria and I spent my growing up years in Nigeria. Went did my undergrad in Nigeria and after my undergraduate studies I went to United Kingdom for my postgraduate where I did my MBA at Cardiff Business School. And right out of Cardiff Business School I decided I was going to be in consulting on investment banking and I happened to join American Management Systems as a consultant, actually in their financial services industry.
Olu Adegoke: As things happened, one of the clients that I was going to be working with, the project, actually got delayed and they said, "Oh, why don't you just in the interim work on this telecom vacations project?" And I said, "Why not? Let's try it." And in the process of working with that client that was going through their technology modernization, I realized that I actually enjoy telecoms. And since then I find myself working with telecom clients and never really went back into financial services or investment banking. I'm really glad that I actually made that change and since then it's been very interesting for me. And so that's where I am now.
Jeff Kavanaugh: Fantastic. It's interesting how serendipity can take a hand.
Olu Adegoke: Yes. In this case, looking back now, I'm always thinking what would have happened if I actually had stayed in financial services? I would have been monitoring stocks and just doing all those kind of equity analysis as opposed to actually now working with my clients to actually make big change happen in the market that is actually transforming people's lives. So I'm really enjoying it.
Jeff Kavanaugh: Well, I'm sure that your clients are appreciative that you made that choice.
Olu Adegoke: Yes, absolutely.
Jeff Kavanaugh: It's interesting too, I bring that up because a lot of people talk about global perspectives and yet you are probably as much of a living embodiment of a global perspective as anyone I talk with. Can perhaps contrast how technology has affected over these forces in societal as well between your native Nigeria, UK and Europe and after many years in the US maybe some differences and an observations.
Olu Adegoke: Yes I think that's a great point because for me, because I grew up in Nigeria, I work with clients in UK and Europe, I've worked with clients in North America as well, and occasionally I also advise some of the telecom clients in Africa as well. So across all of these continents, technology and especially mobile communications has a huge tremendous impact on people's lives. So for example, if you look at Africa where many people did not actually have fixed line telecoms in their homes, their first experience with telecommunication is actually mobile.
Olu Adegoke: And as a result of that, many people who are in the rural areas, they were able to communicate with people in the urban centers through mobile phones and they were able to use it for things like money transfer. They were able to use it for things like emergency services, to call for medical help. And that becomes very significant impact not just on people's lives but also in terms of their livelihood as well. Because all of a sudden now there are so many people that are receiving funds from people working in the urban cities. In fact, some people are actually starting businesses just on their mobile phone by allowing people to make calls, by opening sort of like a cafe where people can come and used their mobile apps and that becomes the source of their livelihood.
Olu Adegoke: So mobile phone in the US and in Europe where it has become a basic necessity for how our communications with friends and families, but in many of the developing countries like Africa, it has actually become like a source of living for them, as a person, as a family, which obviously has had a very tremendous impact on not just the economy but in people's lives as well.
Jeff Kavanaugh: Want to emphasize that point because beyond the corporate message, profitability, productivity, efficiency, you're touching people's lives and you're effecting planetary and societal aspects as well. And so that has to be rewarding as you're working with these clients, thinking about how telecom affects their economics and also their basic livelihood.
Olu Adegoke: Yes, absolutely. And that's really what makes this very exciting for me personally, that this is not just about the profit motive, which obviously we have to, we have to make profits so that we can be in business, but what telecommunications and mobile is doing and what it's going to do, especially with 5G that is coming now, is going to have a very significant impact on how we live. It's going to have a significant impact in terms of how businesses operate and also how businesses are going to become much more profitable in the future as well. So it's a big significant impact on the society and overall economic wellbeing of families as well.
Jeff Kavanaugh: That is fantastic context setting. Let's dive in.
Olu Adegoke: Okay.
Jeff Kavanaugh: One of your recent papers was on this idea of a mobile centric customer experience. And given what you just mentioned about how mobility is changing people's lives, could you talk about what mobility centric means?
Olu Adegoke: Yes, absolutely. So like I said earlier on, if you look at continents like Africa where people did not have the traditional fixed line phone, the mobile became their forced platform that they were used to communicate. And also because many people also did not have access to PC, mobile also became the first PC sort of that they have in terms of being able to access the internet as well.
Olu Adegoke: While, if you compare that with countries like US, for the most part, it's in the Western world where we kind of started out using fixed line and using PC to be able to access internet and then now we're getting onto mobile and now using mobile to actually access the internet. And now obviously everybody talk with their mobile phones, and in fact I think most people will probably feel more comfortable leaving their wallet at home as opposed to leaving their phones at home.
Olu Adegoke: So now, what is now happening is mobile is actually becoming the primary means of not just communication but also for entertainment as well in terms of how people access the internet and how people get things done in the digital world. And as a result of that, for companies like Telecoms that wants to be able to compete and retain customers, mobile has become a platform and it should no longer just be something that you use for self service if you have problems, if you want to check your bills. It's now much more than that. The potential is much more than that. However, obviously many of the telecom companies, they still have some challenges in being able to make mobile to become the core part of how they deliver experience, they still rely on contact centers, they still rely on retail, and obviously there is a space for that. But in this world now where everybody, literally everybody wants to access content, they want to make transactions through mobile, it means companies that can deliver that obviously we get an edge over the competition, and that's what the mobile centric means.
Jeff Kavanaugh: What about the customer experience element? What does it mean to use mobile to generate a customer experience?
Olu Adegoke: Yeah, so the cool thing about mobile is the fact that obviously it's a very personalized device, right? So it means when the call comes, people are trying to reach you as a person. And the great thing about it is, for you as an individual, you want the service provider to be able to identify you as a unique person. And in many cases you are willing to actually provide information to them that will help them to understand your preferences, to understand the kind of things we want to do so that then that can make life easy for you, that can streamline the experience that you have when you engage with them through the mobile apps.
Olu Adegoke: It allows them to be able to capture data about the kind of transactions that you are interested in. And it allows them to be able to personalize that experience to the extent that they can even predetermine your intent even makes it much better for you. If I want to go online and I want to make a transaction in terms of I'm interested in watching movies, I want my service provider to be able to understand my preferences, right? Just for example, if I want to stream music and I'm using Spotify, I expect them to understand my music preferences in terms genre I like, in terms of the artist that I like.
Olu Adegoke: So the experience is all about you being able to kind of read my intent and understand my preferences so that I don't have to spend a whole lot of time to figure out what I'm trying to do. In your world where there are so many choices, the key about delivering the right experience is can I help you to narrow down the choices so that I make that very simple for you to be able to determine what you want to do and how you can access it.
Jeff Kavanaugh: Are there any other elements that when business leaders considering mobile centric customer experience strategy they should keep in mind?
Olu Adegoke: Yes. So one of the other elements to keep in mind is obviously security, is a very significant aspect of this. While customers want a mobile centric experience, but we also have to recognize the fact that it's also highly prone to security. So which means data has to be well secured, networks have to be well secured, and the applications have to be well secured as well so that the customers can have trust because we have seen instances where obviously there has been cyber attacks and security breaches into applications. And that can obviously destroy customer trust and customer confidence. So security becomes a critical aspect of it so that then customers will be able to share information and they'll be able to have confidence in the brand so that then you can protect the brand.
Olu Adegoke: So we have to always make sure we balance the need to kind of deliver that compelling experience without at the same time compromising security.
Jeff Kavanaugh: You mentioned a phrase in your recent article in IT Pro publication about winning the digital wars conjures up a lot of things like Star Wars. What are some of the implications of things like 5G on the competitive landscape beyond just being one more buzzword or piece of technology?
Olu Adegoke: Thank you. I think that's a great question. So if you look at the digital wars that has been taking place over the last, I would say, at least in the last decade, so essentially what has been happening is you see where telecom companies are obviously investing a lot of money, billions of dollars in building infrastructures building the networks. While Hi Tech companies like Amazon, like Google, like Apple, they are essentially launching services that are ridding on those networks and they're able to monetize those services. And in many cases those services are actually cannibalizing the telcos are core products in terms of the voice and even the video services, as an example. You look at his situation where Netflix obviously is offering video subscription services, Hulu is offering subscription services and both of those offerings are riding on infrastructure that telecom companies have created. And they're making money. Obviously telecom companies also provide, and cable for that matter, they also provide video services. But those video services now are actually being cannibalized by the OTT services, which Netflix and the likes of Hulu are providing.
Olu Adegoke: So the war is such that, you have one sector of the economy, like telecom companies obviously making these significant investments. And these investment continue to increase as people consume more video at such astronomical pace. They continue to make this investment without being able to actually realize the profit that they are making into those investments, again, because some of the usage of those services are being controlled or being driven by other companies like Apple, like Netflix, like Hulu.
Olu Adegoke: And so the idea behind the digital wars is how can telco also position themselves in such a way that they are able to launch and create products, such that they will then be able to monetize the investment they're making in the infrastructure. And there has been a lot of discussions and debates in the industry in terms of making sure that the telecom companies, they are very fair in how they treat content that is being provided by their competitors to make sure that they don't put those customers that disadvantage, but at the same time, we have to recognize that telecom companies are making significant investments in their infrastructures and in order for them to be able to continue to make those investments, they have to be able to figure out a way to monetize it as well.
Olu Adegoke: So that is the whole idea behind digital wars, is to make sure that those tech companies and the telcos, they're able to figure out a way to compete and telcos are also able to figure out a way to monetize the investment that they're making. So that's what we've seen in the last decade and that's what we are going to continue to see as well.
Jeff Kavanaugh: Once again, you're listening to the Knowledge Institute, where we talk with experts on business trends, deconstruct main ideas and share their insights. We are here with Olu Adegoke, partner with Infosys Consulting. Olu you spoke about telcos, and you spoke about, whether you call them digital natives or you call them just these very successful platform companies like Amazon and Google, what about the rest of us? What about the rest of the companies? What can they take away from 5G digital wars and find their place in all this?
Olu Adegoke: Yes, I think that's a great question. So the cool thing about a 5G is such that it's new technology, it's a new mobile wireless technology that is actually going to bring a lot of new capabilities to businesses. If you think about it, we're currently using 4G LTE for mobile. For many businesses, they are having to contend with a lot of constraints in terms of maybe it's capacity that they want, if you have a lot of employees that are on the field and they want to be able to access applications on your server, for most of the time, they will have to look for a place to connect, to fix network or they use wifi to be able to connect.
Olu Adegoke: There's a lot of new applications obviously that businesses would like to launch that can actually create unique experiences that they are not able to today just because of the capacity constraints. So, for example, if you are a retail company and you're selling furnitures and prospects, customers, they want to buy your furniture and they go online and they take a look at the furniture and they kind of see it and they kind of like it, but they really don't know whether that sofa for example, would be able to fit in into their living room.
Olu Adegoke: So you as a furniture company, you might be able to create a virtual reality application kind of a thing that will allow the customer to be able to use that technology, virtual reality to actually see how a furniture is going to look like in their house without them having to go to the store and actually bring the furniture to the home. They can actually see whether this sofa is actually going to look nice in my living room or if this bed is going to look nice in my bedroom, what is it actually going to look like?
Olu Adegoke: That kind of hub today is not possible because it requires a lot of bandwidth to be able to do that. But with 5G consumers somebody should be able to experience that kind of a thing using virtual reality. And so the furniture company now is able to provide an experience which they are not able to today.
Olu Adegoke: So that's kind of an example of when we talk about 5G, the fact that the bandwidth that is going to bring, it's going to be more than 100 X in some cases, and also in terms of the number of devices that people are going to be connected to going forward is also going to be a whole lot. Today an average person probably have five or six devices. You have your iPhone, you have your iPads, your tablets, your smartwatch, you have Kindu, you probably even have five or six. But in the future you probably will end up having maybe 20, 30 devices within your home, that are going to be connected to the internet. And you want all of these to be reliable and you also want all of these to be able to communicate with each other.
Olu Adegoke: So again that is not happening today but with 5G, many of us will be able to do that. So 5G is more than just a buzzword. 5G is going to be a technology that will actually revolutionalize how we live and how businesses are being conducted as well.
Jeff Kavanaugh: I appreciate the way you related that and I think before you mentioned OTT and for non Telecom folks, think it's over the top.
Olu Adegoke: Yes.
Jeff Kavanaugh: And these digital Wars are over the top in their own right as well as OTT being a service. One of the things that a lot of folks take issue with when they hear strategy or they struggle with is, how does it relate to me? How do you make it real? Since you're out there and probably unique in doing both strategy and helping people actually see results in the field, on the ground. How do you translate the strategy of a mobile centric customer experience to results, implemented, adopted so people can see value and that those employees can see benefits as well.
Olu Adegoke: I think that's a great question because with many of my clients, people tend to think that you don't really have any strategy until you get a group of executives together in a room and you brainstorm, and you debate and you generate ideas and everybody just leave, and that means you have a strategy. To me, I actually approach strategy differently.
Olu Adegoke: I've had some conversations when I talk to clients and they say, "Do you have a strategy for solving a specific issue?" So let's just say for example they are losing customers and they say, "Oh, we need to figure out a way to retain our customers." And we say, "Okay, what's the strategy?" And then they will say, "We don't have a strategy." It's always a very interesting conversation when I say, "No, you do." And then they say, "No we don't." I say, "Yes you do." And they say, "How?" I say, "Your strategy is what you doing right now. Whatever you're doing right now, that's your strategy."
Olu Adegoke: Because to me strategy is what you're actually executing. Strategy is not what you planned to do, but strategy is actually what you are doing. Now, I know that for many business leaders, they don't see that way. They always think that strategy means our intent, our desire and how we want to accomplish that. But until you execute, that does not become your strategy. That just Becomes, that just is your goal, is your aspiration is your plan, is your objective. You might call it all kind of a thing. But strategy is truly what you execute.
Olu Adegoke: We have to remember that this word actually came from military, right? When military commanders, they are planning to go to war or they are in the middle of the war and they're strategizing on how they are going to combat, how are they going to fight against the enemies. And the commanders make decisions on what they're going to do in terms of the backup plan that they have just in case the enemy respondents in one way. And then how they're going to respond back. This term strategy actually came from military, and as a result is very execution focused. It's not lock yourself in the room, ivory tower kind of a thing.
Olu Adegoke: So I approach strategy from that standpoint. I approach strategy from recognizing that we have an end game that we're trying to reach. We have specific results that we're trying to produce. And strategy definition is the series of steps that we have to take, that we have to execute to be able to realize that. And then obviously how we kind of adjust as we progress and as we learn, as we get more information. So that's kind of how I approach it.
Olu Adegoke: When we think in terms of mobile centric strategy, it all boils down to, as I mentioned earlier on, how do you want to use mobile to deliver experience, one, and how do you want to use mobile to also become the platform for your product as well. So for example, like one of my clients, I remember when we were working with a DirecTV, which obviously one of the largest pay TV providers in in North America, they were facing a lot of competition from Netflix and the likes of Hulu with their over the top platform. And DirecTV wanted to compete aggressively with the over the top companies as well. And what did we have to do? We have to work together on defining the strategy and the new product, which obviously had to become mobile centered offering, which was launched as DirecTV now. And then we had to work with them to figure out how do we scale that mobile platforms so that they can support millions and millions of customers that they have.
Olu Adegoke: But we really had to focus on the end product that we want to be able to deliver in terms of the content that customers will be able to see, and also in terms of the experience. And it so happened that that product has been very successful in the marketplace. But it's real. It's not, again, it's not something that we just want to to conceptualize. It's something that we know that we really want to be able to deliver and put in the hands of customers.
Jeff Kavanaugh: You'd mentioned strategy and coming from the Greek word, which is half military or it's the army in half, execution or movement. So it truly is about an army or in this case, a group of people, company getting something done. So I think you along with Lawrence Bossidy on the whole book Execution, it's about getting things done, not about-
Olu Adegoke: Not about planning.
Jeff Kavanaugh: Awesome. Well I think we're going to wrap up here shortly and wanted to get your take on what are the things that listeners can do to help advance a mobile centric customer experience at their own company and for themselves?
Olu Adegoke: I think one of the things you want to do is, as the world becomes more and more digital, we all need to kind of identify some of the brands or few brands that you want to trust. Because what is going to happen is, many companies are going to begin to offer many products and services and the traditional industry boundaries is going to begin to blow, right? You're going to see your banks getting into retailing. we're already seeing telecom companies getting into retailing. Telecom companies getting into financial services. We're going to see financial services companies getting into technology. We're going to see retail companies getting into financing.
Olu Adegoke: So the traditional industry boundaries will begin to blow. And so what that means is your service providers will be able to offer you a whole lot more services than what they have in the past.
Olu Adegoke: So that means as an individual, as you will have to make a choice in terms of which brands do you want to trust, and so that brands that you trust, you will expect that they will be able to provide you with more and more services. If you prefer to shop with Walmart versus Costco, then you should expect that over time, Costco will be able to provide you with a whole lot more merchandise, more services. So what that means is picking the brands that you like and expect to share information with them so that they can know you, they can understand you. And that will allow them to be able to personalize the experience for you, and that will allow that service provider to also help you to narrow down the choices as well as for you to have a reliable place where you can go to kind of understand what is really going on if you really want to make an investment, you really want to buy a product, where you can do your product research, where you can make information, where you can make decisions based on information that you're seeing.
Olu Adegoke: So it becomes like a two way street. You give them information and they use that to provide service to you. And then they also use that information based on your experience to be able to tell you whether the quality is good or the quality is bad, so that then again on the base of that you can also make decisions as well.
Olu Adegoke: So it becomes kind of like your relationship between you and that brand to be able to exchange information and then in turn you get the services from that as well. So as an individual we all have to kind of make that conscious and deliberate decisions on which brands we want to engage with digitally.
Jeff Kavanaugh: Thanks for the insight. This had been a highly engaging conversation. I appreciate your time. As people want to learn more and engage more with you and your practice and learn more about your thoughts and perspective, how can they find you online?
Olu Adegoke: I'm very active on LinkedIn. You can find me on LinkedIn. My name is, I think it's a little bit unique, is Olu, O.L.U Adegoke, and the last name is A.D.E.G.O.K.E. I'm also on Twitter @Olu_Adegoke, it's my Twitter handle as well. Those two places are probably the easiest one to find me online.
Jeff Kavanaugh: Fantastic. And in the show notes, we'll also have this information. And everyone, you've been listening to the Knowledge Institute where we talk with experts on business trends, deconstruct main ideas and share their insights. Thanks again for listening and see you next time.
Olu Adegoke: Thank you so much Jeff.
About Olu Adegoke
Olu is a partner and co-founder of the communications, media and entertainment practice within SOURCE, and currently co-leads its North America offerings. Over the past 20 years, he has advised senior industry executives in the communications, media, entertainment and high-tech industries on new business launch and digital transformations, focusing on launching digital products, digitization of customer interactions and enabling organizational agility. He has worked with clients in the U.S. and Europe, spanning from Fortune 100 and Global 2000 companies to start-ups. Olu has helped his clients to successfully design and launch new businesses, including a mobile payments company, two wireless service providers and two competitive local exchange companies.
- Connect with Olu Adegoke: LinkedIn
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